Dr. Ray Baker, right, writes notes while he and fellow members of the supervised consumption services review committee listened to Red Deerians at a public engagement session at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre Tuesday evening. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Session held in Red Deer to discuss socio-economic impacts of safe consumption sites

Many Red Deerians expressed concern over crime during a town hall meeting on safe drug consumption sites.

The government-appointed committee that is looking into the socio-economic impacts of the sites hosted a public engagement session in Red Deer on Tuesday evening.

Shaune Fandrey, who owns a downtown business, was one of many to speak at the event. She said some customers are “uncomfortable” going to her office and staff members’ vehicles are broken into regularly.

“It’s frustrating for me as a business owner to hear people say that the problem with crime has always been the same. We’ve been there 20 years. It’s not the same,” said Fandrey.

Fandrey said she’s also frustrated hearing people say safe consumption sites save lives, “because this isn’t living.”

“To keep people alive just to perpetuate misery without actually providing them a service makes no sense to me. I’d like to see all the money going into these Band-Aid solutions … (instead) go in mental health, safe housing and detox for people who really need it.”

Shawn Pickett, a board member of Turning Point, the agency that operates the safe consumption site, said Red Deer had the highest overdose death rate per capita in Alberta before the facility opened.

Safe consumption sites save lives “and that’s one of the major things that needs to be looked at moving forward,” said Pickett.

“Red Deer’s had a huge crime rate for a long time. I’ve had two dirt bikes stolen, a car stolen, cash stolen, a passport stolen. My girlfriend was robbed at knifepoint. And all this was long before the OPS ever opened up.

“If supervised consumption services are shut down with the anticipation that crime is going to go away, I think we’re going to be disappointed.”

Pickett said crime happens everywhere, not just around the site.

“The problem with crime, the problem with homelessness is massive. It’s spread across the city, it’s spread across the province. It’s in Lethbridge, it’s in Ontario, it’s all over the place,” he said.

Glen Adkins, who lives in north Red Deer, said he’s seen a noticeable increase in crime over the past couple of years.

“Every week I’m downtown and I see a big change with what’s going on down there. I feel sorry for the business owners,” he said.

Adkins said he’s against having a safe consumption site in Red Deer.

“They’re just keeping these people alive. They need to get them into rehab long term … because it’s just not working.”

The supervised consumption services review committee has held town hall events in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Events are also planned for Grande Prairie, Edmonton and Calgary.

Committee chair Rod Knecht said prior to the event in Red Deer that committee members met with several stakeholders, “from politicians to users.”

He said “in some areas, the community is very divided. In other areas, you see a lot of commonalities.

“It’s a very emotional issue for a lot of people, and with emotion, comes polarizations sometimes.”

An online survey can be filled out at www.alberta.ca/supervised-consumption-services-review.aspx.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Shawn Pickett, Turning Point board member, speaks during a public engagement session held by a committee reviewing the socio-economic impacts of safe consumption sites in Alberta. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Glen Adkins, who lives in north Red Deer, says he ‘feels sorry’ for business owners in downtown Red Deer due to crime. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

The supervised consumption services review committee visited Red Deer Tuesday evening to hear from residents about the socio-economic impacts that safe consumption sites have on a community. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Just Posted

New trail being developed through North Red Deer woods

This forest belt is known for having rough sleeper camps

Moms visit Red Deer’s overdose prevention site

Moms Stop The Harm meet in Red Deer

Lacombe County land dispute to be resolved

Landowners next to new Kuhnen Natural Area feared trespassing and liability issues

Average fall, cold winter ahead, The Weather Network predicts

Canadians can expect average temperatures this fall that will give way to… Continue reading

After bankruptcy filing, Purdue Pharma may not be off hook

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and its owners expressed sympathy but not responsibility… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Opinion: City must aim for zero per cent tax hike

Red Deer city council is discussing the benefits of multi-year budgets, which… Continue reading

Rapid rise of co-working providing needed space as big cities feel crunch

TORONTO — When Rahul Raj was ready to move his small but… Continue reading

No Deal: Auto workers strike against GM in contract dispute

DETROIT — More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked… Continue reading

CREA reports August home sales up from year ago, raises forecast for 2019

OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association raised its forecast for home… Continue reading

U.S. postal treaty exit would hurt Canadian e-commerce businesses

MONTREAL — U.S. President Donald Trump’s push to withdraw from an international… Continue reading

Saudi Arabian attacks linked to higher oil prices, spark energy stock rally

CALGARY — Higher oil prices spurred by an attack on Saudi Arabian… Continue reading

Health: Are North Americans wimps when it comes to pain?

How do people in other countries handle pain following various surgical procedures?… Continue reading

Most Read